The Complete Guide to Cleaning Out Your Closet Posted on September 14, 2016 under Blog. | no comments.
The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning out Your Closet
There’s a lot more to maintaining a wardrobe than organizing your closet by season, occasion, color or style. Having a wardrobe that consists of high-quality, long-term pieces requires regular attention, repairs and cleaning.
If you’ve decided you need to clean out your closet, be sure to examine your pieces carefully to determine which items to keep, have repaired, altered and dry cleaned, and which items to get rid of altogether. There are also other decisions you can make regarding the pieces you no longer wish to keep. Today, we have plenty of options from donations to consignment to even making a few bucks on eBay.
This is the ultimate guide to cleaning out your closet to help you determine what to do with your clothes and how to get rid of them. We’ll also offer you some important tips on properly maintaining and caring for your clothing so you can get more wear out of your wardrobe.
Assessing Your Closet
When you first start your closet cleaning mission, you’ll want to separate all your items by the pieces you know you want to keep and all other items that require action.
Some items may even still have the tags on them. If this is the case, you’ll need to start by firmly deciding which items you’re keeping. These are items you love and wear frequently or are your go-to special occasion pieces. Some of these items may be in need of repair because you wear them so often. This is normal and is to be expected as part of owning a wardrobe. However, now is the time to finally deal with these items so you can get back to wearing them.
Some items, you may be unsure of. Perhaps you’ll keep them, but more than likely, they should be donated, sold online or placed on consignment. The key is to try on all your items and check them over for damages or stains.
The end result of this phase should be that your closet now contains all your keepers that don’t need to be cleaned or repaired. All the items that require action should now be outside of your closet, such as on your bed or on the floor.
Sorting Through Your Clothing
Once you’ve assessed your wardrobe and isolated your clothing items that require action, begin by sorting your clothing into different piles. These piles should be based on the different actions required. These will be actions like:
- Remove stains
- Have dry cleaned
- Alterations and tailoring
- Throw out (or repurpose)
- Place on consignment
- Sell online
Now begin tackling one pile at a time and working your way through the different items until you know exactly what must be done with each item.
Removing Stains From Clothes
Start with the items that need stains to be removed. Unless you’ve already determined it’s a clothing item you’ll throw away, you should definitely attempt to remove the stains if you’re going to keep, donate or sell the item.
The first step in removing stains from clothes is to soak the item in cold, soapy water for 30 minutes, or even longer depending on the stain. You may also want to try a vinegar solution, which has natural stain removing properties. Once the item has been soaked, be sure to run it through the washing machine as you would regularly.
Once the wash is complete and the item is still wet, check to make sure the stain is now gone. If the stain is still there, soak the item again with soap or a specialized stain treatment product. If you aren’t able to soak the garment immediately, then dab at it with cold water or a Tide-To-Go pen.
Be careful not to rub the stain as it will only further deepen the stain and damage the fabric. In the future, remember to always treat stains as soon as possible. Leaving the stain to sit only further damages the fabric, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to remove the stain entirely.
Dry Cleaning Clothing
Most of us have a few high-quality items like dresses, skirts, blazers, suits and shirts that are labeled as dry-clean only. Always check the care instructions on the clothing label before making a purchase of a high-end item. If the instructions specifically indicate dry clean only, then consider this when you purchase the item. This means you will need to be diligent about the care for this item if you want it to last.
How often you should dry clean clothes depends greatly on the specific item, how often you wear it and what shape the garment is in. As a rule of thumb, if it’s an item you wear regularly, then you may need to have it dry cleaned every few times you wear it. Other items you may only wear once a year. Ultimately, it depends on the particular item and how soiled the item has become.
Here are examples of items that are best to have professionally cleaned:
- Anything with a lining like suits, jackets, skirts and wool pants
- Pleated items like skirts, pants and shirts
- Anything beaded, embroidered or embellished with sequins
- Wool coats
- Garments made from delicate synthetic fabrics and blends like rayon and silk blends
- Heavily soiled and dirty items that may damage the washing machine
While it is possible sometimes to wash clothing at home, dry cleaning delicate clothes and business professional clothes is always a best practice to preserve their quality.
Repairing or Altering Clothes
The next pile to tackle are the items that need to be repaired or tailored because you want to keep them. You may also need to have items that you’re going to sell or donate repaired before you get rid of them.
Over time clothing can wear down and require different types of repairs. This is common, and if you can have clothing repaired rather than purchasing new clothing, it can mean major savings over time. Some common repairs include:
- Repairing broken seams
- Replacing zippers that are stuck or split
- Re-stitching the lining
- Fixing rips or tears
- Mending hemlines that have come apart
- Replacing broken and worn out caps on high heel shoes
- Buffing out leather scuffs and worn patches
Determine the investment ahead of time by asking the tailor or alterations person what the repairs will cost. Based on what the total will be, you can then determine if it makes more sense to have the item repaired, or if you can replace it at a lower cost.
You may come across clothing items in your closet that you have stopped wearing because they no longer fit properly. You may also find items you haven’t worn yet because they need alterations. When sorting through these items, be sure to try those clothes on again and determine the types of alterations needed. Some alterations may include:
- Hemming pants and shirt sleeves
- Taking in seams at the waist, hips, back or bust
- Having seams let out in the shoulders, sleeves or bust
By having a professional alter and tailor your clothing, you can add pieces back into your wardrobe and get more wear out of them.
Throwing Away Clothing
Once you’ve sorted through all the items you want to keep and have dry cleaned, repaired or altered, move on to the items you no longer wish to keep. Keep in mind, there should be a difference between items that are able to be donated and items that you should throw away. Items that you throw away are no longer wearable, and therefore, you should not donate them.
If you don’t know when you should get rid of clothes, then consider that it’s usually because they’ve reached the point to where they’re not worth repairing — perhaps they are not even able to be repaired or properly cleaned. In this case, do not donate them. Instead, throw them away or try to repurpose the fabric for something else.
Here are examples of clothing items that should be thrown away:
- Clothes with stains that won’t come out
- Garments that are discolored or spotted
- Fabric that is worn out or pilling
- Items have become misshapen or have lost their elasticity
- Anything fraying or tattered with holes in the middle of the fabric
In many cases, you can throw away clothing with your regular garbage. However, you may also consider repurposing clothing items for rags or as protective covers for packing away items when you move.
You may decide that some of the clothes you want to get rid of are worth donating and can go on to serve someone else in need. It may be tempting to donate items that are worn out because they can still be used. However, a good rule of thumb to remember is to ask yourself why you’re getting rid of the item. If you’re getting rid of it because your style has changed, then it’s probably still wearable. If there’s something wrong with the item, though, then it can’t be donated. In this case, move it to the “throw away” pile.
Where to Donate Clothing
Donating clothing and household items is an important part of supporting your community and those in need. There are a number of different centers that accept clothing donations to support low-income families.
Here are some of the local donation centers where you can bring your clothing:
- Goodwill locations throughout Naples, Estero and Bonita Springs, FL
- Salvation Army locations in Naples, FL
- Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores
- Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples, FL
- Multiple Donation Dropbox locations in Naples, Estero and Bonita Springs, FL
Use the Charity Clothing Pickup dropbox location search to find clothing donation boxes near you.
Local Consignment Shops
Some of the items you no longer wish to keep may still be worth money. In this case, you may wish instead to place your clothing items on consignment instead of donating them. Consignment stores sell your clothing items for you and then pay you a commission percentage of their sale value.
Here are some local consignment shops that can help you sell your clothing items:
- The Find Consignment in Bonita Springs, FL
- Rodeo Ladies Upscale Consignment in Naples, FL
- True Fashionistas in Naples, FL
- Consign and Design in Bonita Springs, FL
Selling Clothing Online
As you go through your closet, start to think about the items that are still in good shape and have retained their value well. These items may include bags, shoes, dresses, suits, blazers or any other unique pieces. Today, there are several different websites that provide a platform for connecting sellers with buyers looking to purchase used clothing.
Selling clothes on eBay, Tradesy or even local swap and shops is easy to do. You’ll need to take some pictures and write some descriptions of your items before you post them, but you could potentially make some good money by posting your clothing items for sale online.